Rocky Mountain High – A Ballad of Self-Discovery and Wilderness


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for John Denver's Rocky Mountain High at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Prodigal Son Returns: Understanding the Journey Back to Essence
  5. As Cosmic As It Gets: Escaping Into Nature’s Grandeur
  6. A Hidden Meaning in Touching the Sun: The Cost of Dreams
  7. In Every Glimpse, A Revelation: The Memorable Lines that Define Our Quest
  8. More Than a Mountain: Environmental Consciousness and Critique

Lyrics

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changing fast and it don’t last for long

But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby
Rocky Mountain high (Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept the memory

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forests and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
Talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
While they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky Mountain high

Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)
Rocky Mountain high (high in Colorado)

Full Lyrics

When John Denver penned ‘Rocky Mountain High,’ he not only created an anthem for Colorado but also encapsulated the universal search for personal awakening amidst life’s most raw and untouched sceneries. The song, released in 1972, has resonated with listeners who find solace in the embrace of nature and those yearning for an existential breakthrough.

This musical piece is more than a mere celebration of natural beauty; it’s a profound narrative of realignment and rebirth. It delves into themes of retrospection, healing, and the confrontation with modernity’s disruptive grip on the land and spirit. Let’s untangle the lyrical weaves of Denver’s masterpiece and discover its timeless call to the wild.

The Prodigal Son Returns: Understanding the Journey Back to Essence

The opening lines of ‘Rocky Mountain High’ introduce a man in the mid-stages of life, and yet, he experiences a rebirth. This ‘coming home to a place he’d never been before’ could suggest a spiritual homecoming, a discovery of an innate connection to the Earth that transcends prior existence.

Denver’s lyrics trace the protagonist’s escape from the transient and fickle nature of life on the road. The ‘string’s already broken,’ hinting at a release from past commitments or expectations. This encapsulates the idea that in solitude and the majestic presence of the mountains, one finds a more profound semblance of purpose.

As Cosmic As It Gets: Escaping Into Nature’s Grandeur

The chorus of ‘Rocky Mountain High,’ with its iconic imagery of raining fire in the sky, highlights a profound experience that elevates the protagonist’s life to cosmic dimensions. This epiphany is set against the backdrop of celestial serenity, where starlight and lullabies converge to create an otherworldly sense of peace.

John Denver’s lyrics communicate a moment where nature’s grand spectacle dwarfs human concerns, providing a canvas that reflects our insignificance and the ephemeral quality of human endeavors against the eternal majesty of the mountains.

A Hidden Meaning in Touching the Sun: The Cost of Dreams

The verse ‘he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun’ might resonate with Icarus’s tale but it’s imbued with a duality—representing the risk inherent in pursuing our dreams and the consequent loss and remembrance when dealing with their aftermath.

Denver amplifies this juxtaposition, as the pursuit of transcendence and momentary insanity comes at a cost. As much as it is a moment of lunacy, it’s also an instance of finding truth, even if it means enduring loss. The song invites listeners to consider how chasing the light might leave shadows upon one’s memory.

In Every Glimpse, A Revelation: The Memorable Lines that Define Our Quest

Unpacking the line ‘His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand,’ unveils an introspective journey that corresponds to the physical trek through mountains. It is in the deliberate contemplation of the mirror-like lakes and tranquil solitude that the narrator seeks deeper realizations.

Other memorable lines like ‘Talk to God and listen to the casual reply,’ unearth the notion of prayer as conversation rather than supplication. The casual nature of the divine response portrays a universal spirituality, accessible to those who venture into the reverent silence of nature.

More Than a Mountain: Environmental Consciousness and Critique

‘While they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more’ is a powerful indictment of unchecked development and industrialization. Denver artfully merges environmental conservation with the narrative arc of the song, showcasing how external expansions scar the soul just as they do the land.

In the eyes of the songwriter, wealth measured by experience and natural wonder surpasses material riches. ‘I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly’ is a reflection of the intrinsic value of untainted wilderness, presenting an admonition against the disfigurement of the world’s pristine places.

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